Debates of 30 Jun 2015

MR SPEAKER
PRAYERS 10:05 a.m.

VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS AND THE OFFICIAL REPORT 10:05 a.m.

Mr Speaker 10:05 a.m.
Hon Members, Correction of Votes and Proceedings of Friday, 26th June, 2015.

Hon Members, you all have your Votes and Proceedings in the soft copy in front of you. So, next time, nobody should give an excuse that they do not have the hard copy.
  • [No correction was made to the Votes and Proceedings of Friday, 26th June, 2015.]
  • Mr Speaker 10:05 a.m.
    Hon Members, we also have the Official Report of Wednesday, 24th June, 2015 for correction.
  • [No correction was made to the Official Report of Wednesday, 24th June, 2015.]
  • Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 10:05 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, with respect, I was wondering whether we could not also make the Official Report accessible to Hon Members electronically before the House Sits.
    That could afford us the opportunity of perusing the document and if there are any corrections to be effected, the relevant authorities could be prompted. This is because, it is usually very burdensome when you have the Reports

    flashed on you. Maybe a few minutes before the House Sits, Members would not be able to go through the document and once it is called and you do not see it, perhaps, you may skip the opportunity.

    So, I would plead that, now that we have the facility available, perhaps, it may be relevant to make it available electro- nically before the House Sits.
    Mr Speaker 10:05 a.m.
    I think it is a very useful suggestion.
    Yes, Hon O. B. Amoah?
    Mr Osei B. Amoah 10:05 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, it is a very useful suggestion. Indeed, we used to have the electronic version of the Order Paper the night before we Sit but somehow we do not seem to get it anymore. So, probably, they should start again and then go further to have the Votes and Proceedings.
    rose
    Mr Speaker 10:05 a.m.
    Do you have anything to say on this issue?
    Mr Agbesi 10:05 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I only have to add my word and say that, yes, it is necessary; the suggestions that have been brought are welcome. If they can be carried out, Mr Speaker, it would help us.
    Mr Speaker 10:05 a.m.
    Very well.
    The Clerks-at-the-Table should take the necessary steps to ensure that we get some of these reports in the electronic form.
    Hon Deputy Majority Leader?
    Mr Agbesi 10:05 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I rise on Standing Order 53 (2) to apply to vary the Order of Business of the day and move to item number 5 (b).
    rose
    Mr Speaker 10:15 a.m.
    Hon Member for Old Tafo?
    Dr A. A. Osei 10:15 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I have not been in the House for a while, so I might be moving on the wrong path, but it looks like today there is something weird happening and I do not know whether the Leadership has discussed it. From where I sit, given the attendance, I am craving your indulgence to invoke Standing Order 48 -- [Interruption.]
    Mr Speaker 10:15 a.m.
    Hon Member for Old Tafo, take you seat --[Laughter.] You said you have not been in the House for a while so you may need to talk to the Hon Minority Leader on this matter before you take the next step.
    Dr A. A. Osei 10:15 a.m.
    I have consulted the Hon Minority Leader but he has not had the opportunity to brief me, so, I want to crave --
    Mr Speaker 10:15 a.m.
    You take your seat; the Hon Deputy Majority Leader has made an application that we vary the Order of Business and move to item number 5 which basically is Laying of Papers. So, let us lay the Papers first.
    Item number 5 (b), by the Majority Leader and Leader of the House.
    Mr Agbesi 10:15 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, with your permission and the indulgence of my Hon Colleagues, I would like to lay the Paper on behalf of the Majority Leader.
    Mr Speaker 10:15 a.m.
    Very well.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 10:15 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, he is asking for your permission to lay the Paper on behalf of the Majority Leader. However, the item listed provides that, it should be done by the Hon
    Majority Leader Leader of the House. Is he doing so in his capacity as Leader of the House as well?
    Mr Speaker 10:15 a.m.
    No, he is doing it as the Deputy Majority Leader. [Laughter.]
    PAPERS 10:15 a.m.

    Mr Agbesi 10:15 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, could we take item number 7, the Motion which was moved and seconded.
    Mr Speaker 10:15 a.m.
    The Minister for Roads and Highways is in the House. Hon Members, let us go back to Questions, item number 3 on the Order Paper.
    The Hon Minister for Roads and Highways is in the House to respond to Questions from Hon Members. Hon Members,we start with Question number 273, standing in the name of the Hon Member for Juaboso.
    Mr Kwame G. Agbodza 10:15 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, my Hon Colleague, Hon Akandoh, is not in the House but he has given me permission to ask the Question on his behalf.
    Mr Speaker 10:15 a.m.
    You do not look like somebody who has been authorised to ask the Question -- [Laughter.] Your face and demeanour do not look so, but I would allow you to do so on his behalf.
    Mr Agbodza 10:15 a.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Agbodza 10:15 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, my Colleague is very fine, but I do not know specifically where he is currently --
    Mr Speaker 10:15 a.m.
    How did he authorise you and when?
    Mr Agbodza 10:15 a.m.
    Over the weekend, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Ignatius B. Awuah 10:15 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Question is in the name of Hon Kwabena Mintah Akandoh, Member of Parliament for Juaboso. When I was coming here, I was listening to the radio and I overhead him speak on Adom FM.
    Mr Speaker 10:15 a.m.
    That is a very useful information.
    Mr Agbesi 10:15 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Colleague is at Adom FM but he has given authority to his Colleague to ask the Question.
    Mr Speaker 10:15 a.m.
    Hon Deputy Majority Leader, he is only providing us with information and it is a very useful information that he has provided.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 10:15 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the issue is about the importance the Hon Member attaches to the Business in this House and he is a Deputy Minister. Between going on Adom FM and doing serious business in this House, he cherished going on Adom FM more than the transaction of business in this House. That is the obvious inference and that is why I asked of my Hon Colleague where the man is as we speak.
    Mr Speaker, I know for a fact that, this Question was asked before he became a Minister. Did the Minister give him that authority before he became a Minister or after? [Laughter.] You are not even able to tell where he is, except to tell us that he is fine and that physically he is good.
    Mr Ahmed Ibrahim 10:15 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, my Hon Colleague on the Minority Side said that he heard him speaking on Adom FM.He did not categorically state that he saw him sitting in Adom FM. Sometimes, staff from radio stations call us on phone and we speak on phone. Sometimes you may be in the hospital and speak on phone. You may at other times be in your constituency and be speaking on phone to Accra. We all know that Adom FM is in Accra. What I wanted to say is that, it may be true that the Hon Minister was speaking on phone to Adom FM but not sitting in the studio of Adom FM.
    Mr Speaker, the authority given to the Hon Member to ask the Question on his behalf is that he knew very well that Mr Speaker might start at 10 a. m., and at 10.00 a.m. he cannot be here. That is the more reason he said since he might not be there at that material time, to seek the permission of Mr Speaker and that of those on the other side to ask the Question -- So, Mr Speaker, that is where we are now.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 10:25 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the obvious inference from the intervention of my Colleague, the Hon Deputy Chief Whip is, if the Member is physically present at Adom FM, it would be incongruous to allow anybody to ask the Question for him here.
    Mr Speaker, I would want to put it on record, that the person is sitting at Adom FM, in which case we go on the second leg of his submission that if indeed, he was physically present it would be most incongruous to allow anybody to ask the Question.

    So, Mr Speaker, in that case, I think that the Question should be stood down.
    Mr Agbesi 10:25 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, my Hon Colleague did not say the Hon Member was physically present at Adom FM. He did not say that. He only said that it was possible he was speaking on telephone --
    Mr Speaker 10:25 a.m.
    Hon Deputy Majority Leader, you know there is a principle we all have to agree on, and it is that when you have a business to transact in this august House, we must attach importance to it. Why do I say so? Are we not the ones who complain in this House when Hon Ministers do not come to respond to Questions? Are we not the ones? So, why should we be defending a Member of Parliament (MP) who has a business here and does not come to transact it? Why should we? Principle is one and indivisible.
    Hon Members, that is why Business Statements are read on Fridays, so that anybody who has business within the following week would know he has a business to transact in this Honourable House and programme himself accordingly. For me, that is the principle of the issue being raised.That we must accord this House the necessary respect; that, when we have business here, whether we are Members of Parliament or Ministers of State, we must come to this House to transact that business.
    The Hon Minister for Roads and Highways has business in his House. This morning we had to call a Member of Parliament from his office to come to the House to transact business, and they are all here. I can see the Hon Minister here
    and I can also see the Hon Member who we had to call from his office also here.
    Hon Member for Adaklu, I would allow the Hon Member to ask the Question, but in future we are not going to tolerate this.
    Mr Speaker 10:25 a.m.
    Yes, Hon Member for Old Tafo?
    Dr A. A. Osei 10:25 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am taking a cue from your brilliant speech and coming under Order 48 (2).
    Mr Speaker 10:25 a.m.
    Hon Member, you said you have not been in the House for a while. There is a basis for -- please, you started by saying you have not been in the House for a while. There is a reason - - and so, I would call you, please, take your seat.

    Hon Member for Adaklu?
    ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS 10:25 a.m.

    MINISTRY OF ROADS AND 10:25 a.m.

    HIGHWAYS 10:25 a.m.

    Alhaji Fuseini 10:25 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the roads in cocoa growing areas have taken off in the six cocoa growing regions in this country. We inaugurated the commence- ment of work on some of the roads that we selected but the project is being implemented in phases. So, it is the commencement of work that has gone on in the past few weeks on some roads in cocoa growing areas within the first phase of the programme.
    rose
    Mr Speaker 10:25 a.m.
    Hon Member for Old Tafo?
    Dr A. A. Osei 10:25 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, can the Hon Minister tell us if the COCOBOD funded rural roads programme is being funded from the Syndicated Loan that was procured last year?
    Alhaji Fuseini 10:25 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am unable to provide that answer.
    Mr Speaker 10:25 a.m.
    What was the answer? Hon Minister, I did not get you.
    Alhaji Fuseini 10:25 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the question was, could I tell the House whether the roads in cocoa growing areas programme is being funded from the Syndicated Loan; And I said that I am unable to provide the answer.
    Mr Speaker 10:25 a.m.
    Very well.
    the Proso-Anhwiafutu Junction road is a 9 kilometre gravel road in poor condition. It is located in the Juaboso District of the Western Region. It forms part of the Juaboso Junction-Bonsu Nkwanta Feeder Road.
    Current programme
    The road has been captured in the 2015 Routine Maintenance Programme.
    Future programme
    The road has also been selected for bituminous surfacing under the COCOBOD funded rural roads in cocoa growing areas programme. Procurement of works is in progress.
    Mr Agbodza 10:25 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am satisfied.
    Mr Speaker 10:25 a.m.
    Question numbered 274?
    Very well. Because there was nobody on his feet. Mr Agbodza said he was all right with the Answer.
    rose
    Mr Speaker 10:25 a.m.
    Yes, Hon Member for Sunyani West?
    Mr Awuah 10:25 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister in his Answer in paragraph 2, said that the road has been captured in the 2015 Routine Maintenance Programme. Then he goes further to say that the road has also been selected for bituminous surfacing under the COCOBOD funded
    Dr A. A. Osei 10:25 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister for Roads and Highways was here when the Budget Statement for last year was approved. In that public document-- [Interruption] -- there was a statement by the Hon Minister for Finance that he intends to, so I am seeking confirmation if that is true.
    Mr Speaker 10:25 a.m.
    Hon Member, to be fair to the Hon Minister, he is not in charge of
    -- 10:25 a.m.

    Dr A. A. Osei 10:25 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, it is in the Budget Statement under his Ministry. When we come here --
    Mr Speaker 10:25 a.m.
    If you had quoted the specific paragraph under his Ministry, I would have allowed that question.
    Dr A.A. Osei 10:25 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I do not have the Budget Statement. I would remind him --
    Mr Speaker 10:25 a.m.
    Very well.
    Hon Member for Dormaa Central?
    Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu 10:25 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I would like to find out from the Hon Minister the arrangements under which these cocoa roads are being implemented. Are the contracts being awarded through his Ministry and are they receiving funding from COCOBOD through the Road Fund Board? How are these things being implemented or arranged?
    Alhaji Fuseini 10:25 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Ministry of Roads and Highways is collaborating with the COCOBOD for the implementation of a programme in the cocoa growing areas. This programme touches concerned roads in the cocoa growing areas.
    The Ministry of Roads and Highways provides technical backstopping for the construction of these roads. This is because the roads are constructed, or in their current state, are part of the assets of the Ministry of Roads and Highways. So, any intervention on those roads must be done in accordance with the specifica- tions given by the Ministry of Roads and Highways. But the Ministry of Roads and Highways is constrained with funds and so the COCOBOD has set aside US$150 million to implement this project within the cocoa growing areas.
    Mr Speaker, for us, we do monitoring and evaluation, assess the contractors and advise COCOBOD on the contractors who are otherwise eligible to undertake the construction of these roads.
    Dr A. A. Osei 10:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, he said that COCOBOD has set aside GH¢150 million but he does not know how it is being funded. That is the answer to my question and that was my point. This is because their whole budget is from the GH¢1.7 billion, if they have set this aside then he would have just quoted the number, that is the point.
    Mr Speaker 10:35 a.m.
    Yes, but the specific question was whether it was part of the Syndicated Loan of last year.
    Dr A. A. Osei 10:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, that is precisely the point. This is because that entire amount is part of their budget. So, if they are setting it aside, it must be coming from there.
    Mr Speaker 10:35 a.m.
    Honourable Members, the last supplementary question. This is a constituency specific Question but because he introduced COCOBOD, I have allowed sufficient questions on this matter.
    Yes, Hon Member for Dormaa Central?
    Mr Agyeman-Manu 10:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Minister for Roads and Highways in answering my question said that, the Ministry assesses the contractors. What does he mean precisely by that? Does he mean that the Ministry does the procurement or COCOBOD does the procurement and awards the contract? That is all I would want to know from the Hon Minister.
    Alhaji Fuseini 10:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, contractors are in classifications and the capacity of a contractor is coterminous with the classification that is given to the contractor.
    The Ministry assesses the contractor in his capacity in terms of his sophistica- tion and advises COCOBOD and then COCOBOD does the procurement.
    Mr Speaker 10:35 a.m.
    Hon Minority Leader, the last supplementary question on this issue.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 10:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Minister for Roads and Highways has indicated to us that, the particular road has been selected for bituminous surfacing under the COCOBOD funded rural roads in cocoa growing areas programme. He says again in one breathe that, the same road has been captured in the 2015 routine maintenance programme.
    Did he tell us the phase in which it is, so that maybe, in doing the routine maintenance for 2015, assuming it was going to be captured in 2016, it would not amount to double expenditure; do you know the phase it has reached?
    Alhaji Fusseini 10:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the road is a gravel surface and has been a gravel surface for a very long time.
    Routine maintenance is to maintain the road and bring it to a good gradable quality. The programme under COCOBOD roads is to finally seal the road. So, the
    road must be done to the base before the sealing can happen.
    So, there are two different programmes, one is to repair the damage on the road and the second is to seal the road and give it a long life span with bituminous surface.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 10:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the COCOBOD funded roads in cocoa growing areas programme, is it restricted to cocoa growing areas alone, or maybe, sheanut, since sheanut also comes under
    COCOBOD?
    Alhaji Fuseini 10:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, yes, for this year, the COCOBOD Funded Programme is restricted to cocoa growing areas alone.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 10:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Minister is saying “Yes for this year”. Is it only this year that we have that programme or apart from this year, it could go anywhere? Is that the case?
    Alhaji Fuseini 10:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I said for this year. This is because there have been previous programmes which have included non-cocoa growing areas in the past. But this particular programme is starting this year and for this year, we have limited the programme to six cocoa growing areas in the country.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 10:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am happy with the answer provided by the Minister because I wanted to ask, and indeed, I am asking, whether he is aware that in the past COCOBOD funded rural roads programme had found their way into the capital city, Accra. Is he aware?
    Mr Speaker 10:35 a.m.
    He has answered that question.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 10:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, he has not.
    Mr Speaker 10:35 a.m.
    He has.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 10:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am asking whether he is aware.
    Mr Speaker 10:35 a.m.
    He has answered --
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 10:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, can we please hear it from the horse's own mouth? [Laughter.]
    Mr Speaker 10:35 a.m.
    Hon Minister, are you aware of all the places that in the past --
    Alhaji Fuseini 10:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, yes, I am aware. But I am aware that the title of the programme was different from this title.
    Mr Speaker 10:35 a.m.
    Question 274, Hon Member for Berekum East?
    Hon Members, the normal practice is that constituency specific Questions would be limited to the specific Member in whose name the Question stands. But I opened the floodgate on the first Question because of the introduction of the COCOBOD funded roads.
    Yes, Hon Member?
    Dr Kwabena Twum-Nuamah 10:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, with my Question, the road links two constituencies so --
    Mr Speaker 10:35 a.m.
    Please, ask the Question.
    Completion of Road Construction (Seikwa-Berekum)
    *274. Dr Kwabena Twum-Nuamah asked the Minister for Roads and Highways when the construction of the road between Seikwa and Berekum in the Brong Ahafo Region would be completed.
    Background
    Alhaji Fuseini 10:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Berekum-Seikwa road is 33km long. It is a gravel road located in the Berekum and Tain Districts of the Brong Ahafo Region.
    Current programme
    Berekum-Seikwa road has been awarded on contract for upgrading to bituminous surfacing. The contractor has executed 50 per cent concrete works, 100 per cent earth works, 22 per cent laying of sub-base and base and nine per cent of seal works.
    Currently, works are ongoing and scheduled for completion by 30th June,
    2016.
    Dr Twum-Nuamah 10:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, according to the Minister, the road should be completed by the 30th of June, 2016. Information reaching me indicates that, the contractor has not been paid any money since he started work on the road and from the Answer, he has done a great deal of work. Because of this difficulty, progress of work has slowed down considerably.
    Can the Minister assure the House that money would be made available to the contractor in due course so that he can meet this deadline?
    Alhaji Fuseini 10:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, yes, the contractor has some outstanding money from the Ministry of Finance but steps are being taken to pay the contractor some amount of money for him to go and complete the work by June 30, 2016.
    Dr Twum-Nuamah 10:45 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, on another link, I think the commissioning was done by the late President Mills in 2010 and it was supposed to be completed in 24 months but because of this same financial constraints that has delayed the project we now have a new completion date.
    Are we being assured by the Hon Minister? We would want to know the source of the funding to be sure that we are not going to have these difficulties

    because most of the people who live by the road have had a lot of troubles because of the nature of the road so far.
    Alhaji Fuseini 10:45 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the work commenced on 15th December, 2011. The initial completion date was 30th December, 2013. There has been extension of work and there has been some variation order to extend the scope of works. That accounts for the extension of time for which the project is to be completed.
    Mr Speaker 10:45 a.m.
    Question number 277; Hon Member for Jaman North?
    Mr Akwasi Agyemang Gyan-Tutu 10:45 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Member for Jaman North has authorised me to ask this Question on his behalf.
    Mr Speaker 10:45 a.m.
    Very well. [Interruption.] Sorry, Question number 275; Hon Member for Ejura-Sekyedumase?
    So, we will take Question number 275 before we move to Question number 277.
    Hon Member for Ejura-Sekyedumase, you have the floor.
    Mr Matthew Nyindam 10:45 a.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker. I have been authorised by the Hon Member for Ejura-Sekyedumase to ask the Question on his behalf.
    Mr Speaker 10:45 a.m.
    Very well.
    Provision of Access Road to Brigade Area of Ejura Township
    Q. 257. Mr Matthew Nyindam(on behalf of) Mr Mohammed Salisu Bamba asked the Minister for Roads and Highways when the Brigade area of Ejura Township would be provided with access road.
    Background
    Alhaji I. A. B. Fuseini 10:45 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the access road to the Brigade area of Ejura township forms part of the town roads of Ejura in the Ejura-Sekyedumase District of Ashanti Region.
    Future programme
    Engineering studies will be conducted during the fourth quarter of 2015 to determine the type of intervention required. Thereafter, steps to secure funds for the construction of the road will commence.
    Mr Nyindam 10:45 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, in answering the Question, the Hon Minister alluded to the fact that engineering stages and other things would be done during the fourth quarter of this year. But Mr Speaker, as I speak to you now, some portions of the Ejura township roads are under construction.
    I would want to find out from the Hon Minister whether this Answer is different from the entire works that are ongoing in the Ejura-Sekyedumase township.
    Alhaji Fuseini 10:45 a.m.
    Yes, Mr Speaker, this Answer is specific to the Brigade area of the Ejura township.
    Mr Nyindam 10:45 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, if you look at the Brigade area of Ejura, we have a lot of schools around that area. Why did he decide to exclude that area from the initial project awarded in Ejura-Sekyedumase?
    Alhaji Fuseini 10:45 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, that area requires special engineering studies; that is why we had to intervene to take measurements and designs of the roads to be done in that area. The area that we are working on probably has no encroachments and others which would impede the construction of roads. The Brigade area is an old settlement and so we needed to engineer those roads in those areas.
    Mr Nyindam 10:45 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, as he rightly said, it deserves some kind of technicalities or special attention. I would want to find out from the Hon Minister the immediate interventions because when it rains, it is very difficult for students to access their various classrooms.
    So, what immediate steps is the Ministry taking to give some kind of facilitation for this project?
    Alhaji Fuseini 10:45 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, because the roads are un-engineered, it sometimes becomes exceedingly difficult for the Ministry of Roads and Highways to immediately intervene. That is why on un- engineered roads, we always would want to call on the local authorities and particularly, the Local Government authorities in that area to enter first so that we can come later, engineer and do proper construction of the roads.
    Mr Speaker 10:45 a.m.
    Question number 277, the Hon Member for Jaman North?
    rose
    Mr Awuah 10:45 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Member for Jaman North, Hon Steven Siaka is currently not available. I just called him and he said I should ask the Question on his behalf.
    Mr Speaker 10:45 a.m.
    Hon Member, there is a problem there. I would not allow the Question to be asked because an Hon Member gets up on the floor and he says that he has been authorised by the same person. Then another Hon Member gets up and says he has also been authorised.
    Apparently, I called Question 277 and a different Hon Member got up. The Hon Member cannot authorise two people. So, this Question would not be asked. [Interruption.] He probably has not authorised anybody at all -- [Laughter.]
    So, Question number 278 -- [Interruption] -- Hon Members, authorisation by an Hon Member to ask a Question on the floor is a very serious business that nobody should be playing with. It is a very serious issue.

    Hon Members, Question number 278, Hon Member for Kwabre East; Hon Kofi Frimpong?

    Adanwomasi - Asonomaso Nkwanta Road (Repairs)

    Q.278. Mr Kofi Frimpong asked the Minister for Roads and Highways when the Adanwomasi-Asonomaso-Nkwanta road, a major by-pass for travellers from Accra to the northern parts of Ashanti and Brong Ahafo Regions, which has become impassable to motorists, would be repaired.

    Background
    Alhaji I A. B. Fuseini 10:45 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Adawomasi-Asonomaso Nkwanta feeder road is part of the Asonomaso Nkwanta-Adanwomasi- Bonwire feeder road. The bypass starts at Bamang Junction through Bonwire, Adanwomasi and Asonomaso Nkwanta and is 11km long. The road links the Ejisu - Effiduase trunk road to the Kumasi-Mampong trunk road.
    Future programme
    Engineering studies will be conducted on the Asonomaso Nkwanta-Adanwomasi- Bonwire- Bamang Junction stretch during
    Alhaji I A. B. Fuseini 10:45 a.m.


    the Fourth quarter of 2015. The outcome of the studies will inform the necessary intervention to be taken.
    Mr Frimpong 10:45 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I wish to state that, I am highly disappointed in the Answer as proffered by the Hon Minister. His technical assistants did not do any good work for him at all. The situation is not the case as it is on the ground now. Mr Speaker, even the description of the road is not from Bamang junction but from Bonwire -- I would come with my supplementary question. [Interruption.]
    Mr Speaker 10:55 a.m.
    Hon Member, you have to temper your language. When an Hon Minister answers a Question and you are not satisfied with the Answer, you do not attack the Hon Minister. You try to follow it up; you pursue the Hon Minister with supplementary questions.
    Hon Member, ask your question now.
    Mr Frimpong 10:55 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, thank you very much.
    Mr Speaker, may I know whether this road is under the Ghana Highways Authority or Department of the Feeder Roads?
    Alhaji Fuseini 10:55 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, this is a feeder road project.
    Mr Frimpong 10:55 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I did not attack the Hon Minister. I was attacking the technical people. This is because the Hon Minister --
    Mr Speaker 10:55 a.m.
    It is also not fair. My attitude is that, they are not here to respond to issues that you raised. That is why the Hon Minister is here, and he is
    in charge of the Ministry. That is why the Hon Minister has audience on the floor of this House. It is the Hon Minister who is in charge of the Ministry. That is why he and he alone, as far as that Ministry is concerned, has audiene on the floor. If you go and attack technical people who cannot respond on the floor of the House, it would not be fair.
    Mr Frimpong 10:55 a.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker, is the Hon Minister aware that this road is under the Ghana Highways Authority, and that the construction and repair works on the road had almost been completed, except for a certain portion?
    It was made up of scraping, sealing, bitumen surfacing and pothole patching in some places. Right now, the potholes have already been patched and the sealing in the Adanwomasi township has already been done under the auspices of the Ghana Highway Authority. They awarded the contract. The work has been done, except for a certain portion from the Safo Junction to the main Mampong road.
    So, my question is whether the Hon Minister is aware that construction work has almost been completed on this road.
    Alhaji Fuseini 10:55 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am not aware that construction work has been completed on the road. This road is not engineered.
    Mr Frimpong 10:55 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister is a very good Friend of mine. I go to his office regularly, and I would want to draw his attention to the fact that this road is engineered, and that -- [Interruption.]
    The Hon Deputy Majority Leader should keep quiet; has he done the Ashaiman roads?
    Mr Speaker 10:55 a.m.
    Hon Member for Kwabre East, please, conduct yourself properly in the House.
    Mr Frimpong 10:55 a.m.
    Thank you very much Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker, what does he mean by -- [Interruption] -- Mr Speaker, so when is the engineering work, which he is talking about going to start?
    Alhaji Fuseini 10:55 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, in the Answer provided, engineering works would start in the fourth quarter of 2015.
    Mr Speaker 10:55 a.m.
    Question number 280 -- Hon Member for Sunyani East?
    Mr Awuah 10:55 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, my Hon Colleague for Sunyani East went to the constituency. Unfortunately, he is caught up in traffic and he is not here yet.
    Mr Speaker 10:55 a.m.
    Very well, go ahead.
    Tarring of Abesim - Nkrankrom - Yawmire - Asikasu Roads
    Q. 280. Mr Ignatius Baffuor Awuah (on behalf) of Mr Kwasi Ameyaw-Cheremeh asked the Minister for Roads and Highways when the Abesim - Nkrankrom and Nkrankrom - Yawmire - Asikasu road would be tarred.
    Background
    Alhaji Fuseini 10:55 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, The Abesim-Nkrankrom-Yawmire-Asikasu road is captured in DFR Road Database as Oti Yeboah Junction - Yeboakrom Feeder road. The road is engineered, 15.0 kilometres long and located in the Sunyani Municipality of the Brong Ahafo Region. It is a gravel road in fair condition.
    Current programme
    The road has been captured in the 2015 routine maintenance programme.
    Future programme
    The road has been captured for bituminous surfacing under the 2015/2016 COCOBOD funded rural roads in cocoa growing areas programme.
    Mr Awuah 10:55 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister said that the road has been captured under the 2015 Routine Maintenance Programme. We are halfway through 2015, and I would want to know from the Hon Minister, what has been done so far on that road this year?
    Alhaji Fuseini 10:55 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, procure- ment works for routine maintenance for 2015 have been advertised, and procure- ment processes are ongoing.
    Mr Awuah 10:55 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, he further said that the road has been captured for bituminous surfacing under the 2015/2016 Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) funded Rural Roads in cocoa growing areas programme.
    I would want to know the scope of work that the routine maintenance is supposed to do,and which one the COCOBOD programme is supposed to do?
    Alhaji Fuseini 10:55 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the road is a gravel surfaced road. Routine maintenance is to bring it up and improve on the riding quality of the road. The COCOBOD-funded Roads in the cocoa growing areas programme is to seal the road and put the bitumen on the road so that we could extend the life and quality of the road.
    Mr Awuah 10:55 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I would want to know from the Hon Minister if he is aware that the first part of the road, which is from the Oti Yeboah Junction to
    Alhaji Fuseini 10:55 a.m.
    Yes, Mr Speaker, I am aware, and I have visited the road.
    Mr Speaker 10:55 a.m.
    Hon Members, that brings us to the end of Question time.
    Hon Minister for Roads and High- ways, we thank you very much for attending upon the House to respond to Questions from Hon Members.
    Hon Deputy Majority Leader, should we take item number 7?
    Mr Agbesi 10:55 a.m.
    That is so, Mr Speaker, item 7 on the Order Paper.
    Mr Speaker 10:55 a.m.
    Hon Members, it would be recalled that on Thursday, the Motion for the Second Reading of the Right to Information Bill, 2013 began.
    The Motion was moved, the Committee's Report was read and as the practice goes, the Hon Ranking Member of the Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee is to make his submission on the Bill.
    Hon Member for Bekwai, you have the floor.
    BILLS -- SECOND READING 11:05 a.m.

    Mr Joseph Osei-Owusu (NPP-- Bekwai) 11:05 a.m.
    I thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to contribute to the debate
    on the Right to Information Bill at this stage.
    Mr Speaker, the right to information is a constitutional one. It is recognised by the United Nations (UN) as a fundamental human right. Indeed it is the cornerstone of all r ights. If you do not have information on any right that is available to you, you cannot even exercise and take advantage of it.
    Mr Speaker, significantly, not long after that, the Commonwealth of Nations also adopted it as one of the principles for ensuring accountability and openness in governance.
    Lastly, the African Union (AU), some 13 years ago, in the year 2002, also adopted it and set up principles by which it should be applied to ensure openness, transparency and accountability in gover- nance.
    Indeed, in Ghana itself, since the year 2009, there have been efforts to operationalise this right which has been provided in the Constitution and the records show that between 2009 and 2010, various documents have been prepared by various governments at various levels. But in 2010, it finally landed on the floor of this House.
    The Committee on Constitutional Legal and Parliamentary Affairs of the Fifth Parliament did a tour of the country, region by region and sourced views from members of the public on the right to information. This Committee of the Fifth Parliament actually benefited from this data -- the information that was collated from the regional tours -- and has finally come out with this Report.
    Mr Speaker, we noticed that, this Committee has recommended a large amount of amendments to the original draft. That is because a great effort was
    made by the Committee to bring a Ghanaian draft in line with the AU adopted principles.
    Mr Speaker, indeed, one of the major concerns raised by many people who have discussed this Bill is the exemptions that are contained in the Bill. They were thought throughout the country to be too wide and that, indeed, they were actually crawling back with the left hand what had been given by the right hand.
    As a result, this Committee is recommending that, all exemptions should be subjected to the public interest test as required under the AU principles. Whatever it is that is sought to be exempted under this Bill, what we should look at is; would it serve the public better to exempt that information or it would serve the public better, if that information was made available to persons aspiring to use it?
    I think we came to the conclusion that, we would achieve good governance if this public good test was applied. Indeed, our conclusion was that, in order to promote democracy, the right to know is critical and therefore, the people of Ghana whose right it is, indeed the fundamental right to know, should not be restrained or restricted in any way in gaining access to information.
    The information, I believed is for the people, anyway their Governments or Public Agencies only hold them on their behalf and therefore, they should not be restricted from having access to it unless it would be in the public interest to do so.
    Mr Speaker, indeed, we also came to the conclusion that, the Bill was rather too narrow in its application, in that, the whole gamut of the Bill talked about public office. We found that there are many other public and private actors whose actions
    and inactions impinge on the public interest, good governance and accountability and therefore, we have proposed that, information should be made available to people, even in the private sector whose activities impinge on good governance, who indeed have something to do or are using public funds to do one thing or the other.
    All persons executing projects on behalf of the State who are paid from State coffers, information relating to the specific project must be made available to the public.
    Mr Speaker, there is one thing also that we thought of 11:05 a.m.
    to be able to ensure that Ghanaians would have free access and there would be no conflict of interest, the provisions in the Bill which suggested that access to information should be placed under an Hon Minister be removed. A lot of the Agencies that are holding information are under a Ministry or in one way answerable to one Hon Minister or another.
    If that same Hon Minister or the person who is responsible in deciding whether you are entitled to that information, there is the likelihood that, an Hon Minister would decide withholding the infor- mation, especially if the information given is l ikely to affect the Hon Minister's work or to impinge his or her integrity if there is something to be hidden.
    Mr Speaker, in the end, we came to the conclusion that, the appropriate location of the right to information would be an information commissioner, probably under the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ).
    Mr Speaker, what is important is that, we want to assure independence, that when people require full judgment on whether or not the public interest has been passed would be made by a person who is also not interested in the information.
    Mr Speaker 11:15 a.m.
    Hon Second Deputy Majority Whip?
    Mr Ahmed Ibrahim (NDC -- Banda) 11:15 a.m.
    Thank you very much, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity.
    I rise to support the Motion and also to entreat all other Hon Members to join me to do same.
    As Mr Speaker may be aware, the Right to Information Bill was presented to Parliament on Tuesday, 12th November, 2013. However, in the Fifth Parliament, it was before the Committee on Consti- tutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs and the Committee on Communications. many civil society organisations, many social commentators and many people in the country had special interest in this Bill. Mr Speaker, to make a good law, good work needs to be done.
    The Joint Committee on Consti- tutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs and Communications, like my Hon Colleague on the other side of the House said, embarked upon serious nationwide consultations.
    The concerns that were raised by civil society organisations and other public bodies were those same concerns that were generated through the national consultations that we had in Takoradi, Koforidua, Kumasi, Accra and so on. It looked like most Ghanaians had developed some sort of awareness that everybody wants to know and to have the right of access to information.
    In doing so, certain things must be clarified and it was in that essence that the joint Committee embarked upon the nationwide consultations.
    Mr Speaker, some were pushing that the Fifth Parliament should have passed this law. Many concerns or proposals were put before the Committees. Some were even thinking that they did not understand why Parliament -- both the Majority and Minority combined, could not pass the law that came in 2009. The very reason the law could not be passed by the Fifth Parliament is due to these nationwide consultations.
    When you look at the document before us, in the reference documents of the Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, it shows that, past Hon Members of this House, like the Hon Osei Kwame Prempeh, who was the former Deputy Attorney-General and Minister of Justice and also a Hon Member of this House, was consulted. Former Hon Members served as resource persons.
    This is due to the fact that the Right to Information Bill started earlier before even the Fifth Parliament. And if you read the Report before us, it says:
    “Efforts to operationalise the right of access to information began in 1999 when a Bill was drafted and reviewed in 2003 … [Even though it was not presented to Parliament] reviewed again in 2005, [even though not presented to Parliament] and reviewed again in 2007 but was never presented to Parliament.”
    If you read page 8 paragraph 3.12:
    “The first practical attempt at enacting the law on the Right to Information, was made when the Bill was presented to Parliament on 5th February, 2010 . . .”
    Mr Speaker, if you have a bill of this nature that started in 1999, it was reviewed in 2003, 2005, 2007 and it came to this House, would you expect Parliament to just pass it without nationwide consultations?
    This is a bill that is going to generate much political heat, whether you are in power or out of power. There is going to be openness in governance. Therefore, one of the credentials for passing a good law should not only be the right to know or publicity -- where the law must be made known by everybody.
    When we went on the regional consultations, some of the concerns that the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) and the Coalition to the Right to Information were bringing were the very things that the Committee had to rely on; they were the same things that were reiterated by Ghanaians elsewhere. And the Committee has made it clear that in their reference documents, they made reference from the draft Report of the Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs.
    Mr Speaker, things that Ghanaians were afraid of were some of the issues my Hon Colleague pointed out, and they are in the Report --the wide range of exemptions.
    Some Ghanaians thought that the wide range of exemptions that were in the law, the way it came, without amendment were meant to protect government from being embarrassed by certain information. If you read the Report very well, the Committee in its wisdom, after much and extensive consultations, thought it wise to make sure that some amendment be done in that respect.
    One other issue that was of critical nature to the public was the fees and charges that one had to pay before accessing information. The Committee after listening to the public also came out with an amendment that it should not appear that we are charging high fees so as to deter prospective requesters from requesting public information.
    Mr Speaker 11:15 a.m.
    Hon Member, are you a Member of the Committee?
    Mr A. Ibrahim 11:15 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am not a Member of the Committee of Constitu- tional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs --
    Mr Speaker 11:15 a.m.
    I just want to know.
    Mr A. Ibrahim 11:15 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am a Member of the Committee on Communica- tions. However, in the previous Parliament, it was the joint Committee that was working on it.
    Mr Speaker 11:15 a.m.
    Very well. I just want to get an information from the Committee.
    Did you preserve article 121 of the Constitution of Ghana in the Bill or your amendments?
    Mr Osei-Owusu 11:15 a.m.
    Yes, Mr Speaker. We did not make any changes to that. We could not have made amendments to undermine --
    Mr Speaker 11:15 a.m.
    So, those privileges have been preserved?
    Mr Osei-Owusu 11:15 a.m.
    Yes, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker 11:15 a.m.
    Very well.
    Hon Member, conclude.
    Mr A. Ibrahim 11:15 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, in conclusion, I am appealing to Hon Members to join me, and I am now assuring civil society and organisations that all the concerns which were raised have been addressed, and therefore the Bill in its form should be passed.
    Mr Speaker 11:25 a.m.
    Hon Members, I would take two more contributions. I am not going to put the Question on this Motion today. This is a very important Bill. I have been thinking as to how they are even going to print the amendments; 50 pages of amendments. I do not know the number of papers involved.
    Hon Members, I am not going to put the Question today. We would want to hear a number of Hon Members speak on this matter since it is a very important Bill, so that we would really understand it. This is because, as the Hon Ranking Member rightly pointed out, it is like rewriting the whole Bill.
    I would take two contributions, defer it and we would continue on Thursday.
    Hon GiftyKusi?
    Mrs Gifty Eugenia Kusi (NPP -- Tarkwa-Nsuaem) 11:25 a.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to contribute to the Motion on the floor, which is on the Committee's Report.
    Mr Speaker, the right to information is a fundamental human right, guaranteed by our Constitution and also recognised as a right by the International Conventions on Human Rights.
    Mr Speaker, the Holy Bible says in the Book of Hosea 4 11:25 a.m.
    6, that people are destroyed for lack from knowledge.
    Mr Speaker, every citizen of this country needs information, and especially, being a researcher, I really know that information is very crucial if one really would want to make headway in this our democracy.
    In order to promote transparency and accountability in the working of every public authority, in my opinion, this Bill should be passed.
    Mr Speaker, it would enable us as public officers be up and doing. This is because, people are there to collect information about one's work, assess and know where one is doing well and where he or she is lacking. Therefore, it might even help one to work better.
    Mr Speaker, in my opinion, the rumour mongering of people who go round to say a whole lot of things about people and authorities and organisations without any reason is because they lack information. Sometimes, when one sits people down and tell them what it is, then they would start to apologise and tell you that they are sorry, and that they did not know. But if the information is available, nobody will have that right to say whatever they like when they could go in and look for the right information, and then disclose it if he or she would have to.
    Mr Speaker, I am also happy about the provision in the Bill. Looking at the Explanatory Memorandum to this Bill; the provision that there are information officers in the Agencies who would ensure that when one gets any request for information, they would scrutinise it, and then they have at least 21 days to ensure that the people are given what they need.
    The person would not sit forever. Sometimes when one is looking for information, one would go and they would say, come tomorrow or come another day. But the Bill, when passed into an Act would ensure that there is a limit to how long one could keep somebody's request.
    Also, if the request is not very clear or not in line, the person has the right to be informed on how to, write or demand it in a way to enable him get the information. So, I think in all, as Parliament, we are moving forward as our democracy is, and we cannot sit and say we are not passing it. As the former contributor said, it has travelled long, and I think it is high time we approve this Bill.
    Mr Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity.
    Mr Speaker 11:25 a.m.
    Thank you very much, Hon Member.
    One more contribution, then I would defer it.

    Yes, Hon Member for Akatsi South?
    Mr Bernard Ahiafor (NDC -- Akatsi South) 11:25 a.m.
    Thank you very much, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to add my voice to the Motion on the floor.
    Mr Speaker, the right to information as stated, is a fundamental human right recognised by the 1992 Constitution, particularly article 21(1) (f), if I may read:
    “All persons shall have the right to --
    (f) information, subject to such qualifications and laws as are necessary in a democratic society;”
    Mr Speaker, as far back as 1946, the United Nations General Assembly indicated that, freedom of information is a fundamental human right and it is a touchstone for freedoms to which the United Nations (UN) is consecrated.
    Mr Speaker, in a participatory democracy. The right to information is relevant and very important, and that is why it found its way into our 1992 Constitution. To contribute meaningfully to governance, one needs relevant information, and for transparency in governance, we need to make information available to Ghanaians.
    The right to information is therefore, very important in the progress of the country. We need to reduce the secrecy in governance. The unaffected freedom to keep secrets must be removed.
    Mr Speaker, it is on this basis that I would support the Motion and also urge the House to do same.
    Mr Speaker 11:25 a.m.
    Hon Deputy Majority Leader, I intend deferring the Motion. We would continue on Thursday. We are deferring it to Thursday.
    rose
    Mr Speaker 11:25 a.m.
    Mr K. T. Hammand, do you want to speak?
    Mr K. T. Hammond 11:25 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, yes, I actually wanted to contribute. I could do mine today, and defer the rest to Thursday.
    Mr Speaker 11:25 a.m.
    I would take you first on Thursday.
    Mr Hammond 11:25 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, would you take me first on Thursday?
    Mr Speaker 11:25 a.m.
    Yes.
    Mr K. T. Hammond 11:25 a.m.
    Thank you. I am grateful to you, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker 11:25 a.m.
    Very well.
    Hon Deputy Majority Leader?
    Mr Agbesi 11:25 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, we have item 8 on the Order Paper, which was moved and seconded; the Report of the ECOWAS delegation.
    Mr Speaker, the Question was not put; it was deferred for further debate. So could we take item number 8, debate and conclude that matter?
    Mr Speaker 11:25 a.m.
    But is it possible for somebody to lay the Paper in item 5 (a) on behalf of the Minister for Finance? Hon Deputy Majority Leader, is it possible?
    Mr Agbesi 11:25 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, it is possible. We have the Hon Minister for Defence in the House, and I would want to seek your permission and the indulgence of my Hon Colleagues for the Minister for Defence to lay the Paper on behalf of the Minister for Finance.
    Mr Ignatius BaffourAwuah 11:25 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, this has been the standard pattern, and so I have no difficulty with it.
    Mr Speaker 11:25 a.m.
    Very well.
    PAPERS 11:25 a.m.

    Mr Speaker 11:25 a.m.
    This is the first time I am getting such a Report. Which Committee handles it? Should it go to the Finance Committee or the Public Accounts Committee?
    Mr Agbesi 11:25 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, it should go to the Public Accounts Committee, or it might be joint.
    Mr Speaker 11:25 a.m.
    It is on recommendations on actions taken by the Ministry of Finance and its agencies under its ambit to implement the recommendations of the Auditor-General as contained in his reports. Under our Standing Orders, it is the Auditor-General's report which goes to the Public Accounts Committee, and this is not a report of the Auditor-General.
    It is a report of a ministry, and therefore since they are referred to the sector, I would refer it to the Finance Committee because it is under its ambit.
    Alhaji Ibrahim D. Abubakari 11:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Ministry of Finance cannot be a judge in its own court. These are queries that have been raised by the Ministry of Finance from the various Ministries. So I think it would be appropriate to refer it to the Public Accounts Committee, which could then take the necessary measures from there.
    Mr Speaker 11:35 a.m.
    Which Committee has oversight of those agencies? It is the Finance Committee? Do You have the report to guide you in your deliberations as a Public Accounts Committee?
    Alhaji Abubakari 11:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, these are issues that are raised in the Report and are being done by the Ministry of Finance. So the best way would be to --
    Mr Speaker 11:35 a.m.
    Hon Members, if you look at the rules of the House, it is clear. It is the Auditor-General's report that goes to the Public Accounts Committee. This is not a report of the Auditor-General. It is a report of a minister saying that he has taken an action with regard to the agencies under his ambit and Ministry. The Finance Committee has oversight of those agencies.
    Yes, Hon Deputy Minority Whip, then the Hon Minister for Defence.
    Mr Ignatius Baffour Awuah 11:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I agree totally with you in your submission. This is because these were observations which were made by the Public Accounts Committee in relation to agencies under the Ministry of Finance. So I think it is proper that the Minister for Finance's Report is referred to the Finance Committee for further action.
    Mr Speaker, I would not worry --
    Mr Speaker 11:35 a.m.
    In fact, this is a novelty.
    Mr Awuah 11:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, even in looking at it, probably the leadership of the Public Accounts Committee could be invited to assist --
    Mr Speaker 11:35 a.m.
    No, they would have it to guide them. You have finished your work and made your recommendations and --
    Hon Minister for Defence.
    Dr Benjamin B. Kunbuor 11:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I think you are right by our Standing Orders. This falls under the category of oversight and the mandated Committee for oversight for the Ministry of Finance is the Finance Committee. If there are any other things emanating from the Public Accounts Committee, they could be made available to the Finance Committee. Otherwise, we are going to run into a challenge with trying to implement some decisions that might even be open to challenge. So, let the responsible oversight Committee, as Mr Speaker has said, actually address this matter as a matter of implementation.
    Mr George K. Arthur 11:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I think the Public Accounts Committee has finished its work and you are right by referring it to the Finance Committee, but once we have worked on it, I wish we could join the Finance Committee so that we work on the Report.
    Mr Speaker 11:35 a.m.
    Hon Members, every Member of this House would get a copy of the Report. That is number one. Number two, there would be subsequent Auditor- General's Reports on the same Ministry and you would use it to guide you to find out whether your recommendations have
    been based on what the Ministry of Finance has taken. You would have it to guide you.
    So, I think I would refer this matter to the Finance Committee for consideration and report. And I think we should commend the Ministry of Finance, even though without looking at the contents of the document, at least, for taking this bold step. I hope other ministries would also take a cue from the Finance Minister and then do something of that nature.
    Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu 11:35 a.m.
    Thank you very much, Mr Speaker, for this direction that you have given. That would imply that going forward, when Public Accounts Committee presents its Reports here, the implementation and the follow- ups and all that should not be the work of the Public Accounts Committee any longer.
    This is very clear. So the various Committees that have oversight of the sector Ministries would hence take up reports and do the follow ups to check on the implementation and probably inform the Public Accounts Committee that things have been done the way we recommended --
    Mr Speaker 11:35 a.m.
    I agree entirely with you.
    Mr Agyeman-Manu 11:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I think this sets very clear lines between the Public Accounts Committee's work and the Committees having oversight responsibility of the sector Ministries, as to what we should do with our Reports.
    Mr Speaker 11:35 a.m.
    Thank you.
    Referred to Finance Committee.
    Mr Speaker 11:35 a.m.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker to take the Chair.
    Yes, Hon Deputy Majority Leader?
    Mr Agbesi 11:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, in the same vein could the Minister for Defence lay the Paper as contained in item 6.
    Mr Speaker 11:35 a.m.
    The Deputy Attorney- General is here.
    Mr Agbesi 11:35 a.m.
    So Mr Speaker, we ask your permission for the Deputy Attorney- General to lay the Paper on behalf of the Attorney-General.
    11. 41 a.m. --
    MR FIRST DEPUTY SPEAKER
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:35 a.m.
    Yes, Hon Deputy Majority Leader, which item are we dealing with now?
    Mr Agbesi 11:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I sought permission for the Hon Deputy Attorney- General and Deputy Minister for Justice to lay the Paper on behalf of the Attorney- General and Minister for Justice as contained in item 6.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:35 a.m.
    Yes, Hon Deputy Whip?
    Mr Awuah 11:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I think it is in order.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:35 a.m.
    Very well, Hon Deputy Attorney-General and Deputy Minister for Justice?
    BILLS -- FIRST READING 11:35 a.m.

    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:35 a.m.
    Yes, Hon Deputy Majority Leader?
    Mr Agbesi 11:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, item 8,debate on the Report of the Representatives of the Parliament of Ghana to the ECOWAS Parliament was moved and seconded and then deferred for further debate. Could the debate proceed, Mr Speaker?
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:45 p.m.
    Very well. Hon Members, item number 8. Debate to continue. The floor is opened for contribution.
    Yes, Hon Member for Shai-Osudoku?
    MOTIONS 11:45 p.m.

    Mr David T. Assumeng (NDC -- Shai- Osudoku) 11:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I would want to add my voice to support the Report and to commend the ECOWAS Parliament Representatives from this country.
    So far, they have been doing a very good job by submitting Reports to this House. I believe that all Committees that
    Mr David T. Assumeng (NDC -- Shai- Osudoku) 11:45 p.m.


    represent this country outside must emulate the example of the Representa- tives of the ECOWAS Parliament to also present Reports as done by this delegation.

    Mr Speaker, I believe most of their recommendations are in place. It is up to us to make sure that we move them to a higher level so that we would see a strengthening of the relationship among various countries.

    Mr Speaker, we need to strengthen the bonds in the areas of trade and free movement, so that people in the various States would have free movement as is enshrined in the ECOWAS Protocol.

    I would like to urge the Committee to continue to press hard in this direction such that the free movement of people in terms of trade would be enhanced, just so that we can see a lot more integration among the various countries in the ECOWAS sub-region.

    Mr Speaker, I am also of the opinion that if we are able to harness the trade among member States, we would be able to develop a lot more than we are doing, now. This is because, looking at the advantages that each country has, if we are able to concentrate on developing the economic sectors, we would be able to achieve better living conditions for our people.

    In the area of salt production, for instance, Ghana stands to gain some advantage in producing a lot more salt to develop the petro-chemical industry in Nigeria and other areas, so that instead of Nigeria importing salt from Brazil we can rather develop the salt industry in Ghana so that, that sector would be improved and used to enhance the economic wellbeing of Ghana.

    In the same vein, other countries like Togo and others have some advantages that we could also rely on, for example, the limestone sector, to build our cement industry.

    I believe that we could also concentrate in that regard so that we could tap the resources from Togo.

    Benin also has the same, likewise all the countries in the sub-region. So I believe that we need to concentrate on the economic advantages of each country so that we can build a stronger economy in this sub-region.

    I believe that when this is done, we would see a lot more peace in the sub- region.

    Mr Speaker, peace, as I said, is very important. It is up to us to concentrate in that direction to make sure that the democracies of various countries in the region are enhanced so that when it comes to elections we would continue to have free and fair elections.

    We could continue to have peaceful transitions without any difficulty and I believe that the recent case in Nigeria sets the tone for us to emulate, so that we would continue to develop -- [Interruptions] -- That is not the case - - To set the tone for us to have peaceful elections. It is also to help people to understand that if a person loses an election, that is not the end. The person just has to sit down, go back to the drawing board and assess his or her strength.

    I would like to commend the Committee for this good job that has been done. It is my expectation that they would continue. They should not relent, so that we would continue to have good Reports.

    Mr Speaker, I need to commend you, because I think that you are the Leader of the Delegation --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:45 p.m.
    No, I am not the Leader of the Delegation. Please, do not dress me up in borrowed robes.
    Mr Assumeng 11:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am sorry. I had wanted to drag you into it, but I think I have misfired.
    The Hon Deputy Majority Leader, Hon Agbesi, I believe he has done a good job. I think that all Hon Members must be commended, my Sister on the other Side is a Member and I believe that they are doing a good job.
    So, thank you very much for a good job and I would urge all to support the Report.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity.
    Mr Ignatius Baffour Awuah ( NPP-- Sunyani West) 11:45 p.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker, for giving me the opportunity to contribute to the Motion on the floor.
    Mr Speaker, let me add my voice to that which was echoed by the Hon Member who last spoke on the subject.
    Mr Speaker, we have had several delegations to several other bodies, but hardly do we get Reports being laid on the floor of Parliament for debate. On that note I would like to commend our delegation to the ECOWAS Parliament for this wonderful work that they have done.
    I would also like to use this opportunity to urge all other delegations to do same.
    Mr Speaker, that notwithstanding, I would like to see the ECOWAS Parliament moving from a mere consultative body to a more decision-making body, perhaps that which would be equal to that of Council of Ministers, -- ECOWAS Council of Ministers and capable of taking decisions.
    Mr Speaker, the reason I am saying this is because when their views are enforceable, they would not just perhaps go and debate and not have a force to implement whatever they say, but whatever they say would have a bearing on decision- making within the sub-region.
    They would also exercise oversight responsibility over the work of the Council of Ministers.
    Mr Speaker, I am saying this because there are so many issues which are outstanding and which are so important as far as the ECOWAS bloc is concerned. ECOWAs perhaps is one of the oldest regional blocs in Africa.
    One would expect that we would have grown more than where we are now, but because we do not have an oversight body which is responsible for ensuring that decisions taken are enforced, we keep repeating old things which are said over and over again; we do not seem to be moving from where we started.
    Mr Speaker, I would like to see the ECOWAS bloc move from just a mere Community of Nations, to a community of people. It should be possible for a Ghanaian to relate so well with his counterpart in Benin without too much restr ictions so far as movement is concerned.
    But upon a cursory look at somebody who moves from Ghana by road to Nigeria, Lagos, to be specific, one could tell the kind of frustrations that he would go through by making that journey; yet, we say, we are a common people having common ideas and common ideologies.
    Mr Speaker, so much has been said of economic integration at the ECOWAS level, but very little is done.
    We go to a market in Accra and then we find a product from Nigeria but there is so much tax slapped on it. In the same way if we go to a market in Nigeria and then we find a product from Ghana, there
    Mr Ignatius Baffour Awuah ( NPP-- Sunyani West) 11:45 p.m.


    is so much tax slapped on it. We say that we are a common economic community; meanwhile trading between us is not that easy.

    I would like to see an ECOWAS where there would also be free movement of goods and not just people.

    Mr Speaker, so much has also been said of a common currency for ECOWAS. The idea was mooted so many years ago and we keep postponing the implementation date. The name of the currency has even come out, the Eco. The West African Monetary Institute has been established.

    There is even a proposal for a West African Central Bank to be sited in one of the participating countries, but for a long time, because we ourselves have also set- up very difficult convergence criteria for us to meet, it is very difficult for us to implement this.

    Meanwhile, we all know the advantages of having a common currency. Our sisters in the francophone countries practise this and it is actually helping their economies. I do not see why we have so many limitations in implementing this just because almost all the countries are protecting their individual egos and what have you.

    If, indeed, our Leaders say are committed to the cause of ECOWAS then, we should move from mere rhetorics to actions.

    Mr Speaker, one other role I would want to see the ECOWAS Parliament play is to come out with policies which will enhance cross-border security.

    Mr Speaker, it is common knowledge that within West Africa, people commit crimes in one country and cross over the

    border to another country to seek safe haven. I must admit that there are Protocols between sister countries which help us to evict such people from their countries. But if we were actually to have a common security approach, Mr Speaker, some of those things which happen, would not.

    We hear of people committing crimes in, for example, the northern part of Nigeria in the name of Boko Haram, and then they go to Chad to seek safe haven there. We also have people from other countries going into other countries.

    For instance, the issue of Fulani herdsmen. We all know that they are not indigenes of our country. They are people who move from some other countries into our country.

    They come and cause so much harm here and if the law is applied, then they say that it is against the ECOWAS Protocol and others. Meanwhile, they are people who are creating problems in our mother countries. What is it that we can do to ensure that such persons can be brought under our laws and be prosecuted should they commit offences here? I would want to see the ECOWAS Parliament leading the role in that.

    Mr Speaker, it is true that democracy is growing in West Africa. I would want to believe that as of now, almost every country in West Africa is democratic. But it is one thing having the democracy and it is another thing maintaining it. I would want to see the ECOWAS Parliament playing the key role in helping our sister countries to nurture the democracies which they have begun. So that, at least, we would not have the situation where at one point in time, an adventurer may pull up a gun to disrupt the democratic dispensation.

    Mr Speaker, on this note, I would want to, once again, say that yes, our delegation has really done well.

    I have been told that some of them are occupying key positions at the ECOWAS Parliament to the extent that one of our Hon Colleagues is even a Deputy Speaker there. This is an acknowledgement of the fact that our delegation is highly recognised at that level.

    Mr Speaker, I would want to see an ECOWAS Parliament which will have strong oversight of the works of the Council of Ministers that, at least, there would be some responsibility for any assignment.

    On this note, Mr Speaker, I support the Report and I recommend it for adoption by our Parliament.

    Thank you.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:55 a.m.
    Yes, Hon Second Deputy Majority Whip?
    Mr Ahmed Ibrahim (NDC -- Banda) 11:55 a.m.
    Thank you very much, Mr Speaker, I would like to add my voice to the debate on the floor.
    Mr Speaker, I have gone through the Report of the ECOWAS Parliament. I was privileged to be there some time ago.
    Mr Speaker, it is true, Ghana has a very strong voice in the ECOWAS Parliament and our Hon Members are held in high esteem when you go to Abuja.
    I am not surprised to say that Ghana is the second country in terms of numerical strength in the ECOWAS Parliament.
    Mr Speaker, going through the Report, on page 3, with your permission, I beg to read:
    “The Speaker dilated on the reason for the long delay in members assembling for the September 2nd Session of Parliament. He attributed the call off to the outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) which challenged the sub-region and has left in its trail great trepidations and sorrows. He said it was in the wake of this upheaval that the September Session of the 2014 was called off.”
    “The call off he opined was in line with the circular by the President of the ECOWAS Commission directing that all meetings of ECOWAS institutions be suspended until further notice, in order to, curb the spread of the contagious EVD.”
    Mr Speaker, we are talking of a Community Parliament where an outbreak led to a whole Community Parliament being called off. And if you look at the Report very well, it was on the enhancement of Powers of the ECOWAS Parliament.
    Mr Speaker, if natural disasters will have no boundaries, why do we allow geographical barriers to divide us?
    Mr Speaker, when you come to the same page 3, with your permission, I beg to read 11:55 a.m.
    “The Speaker informed members that despite the House's inability to converge for the 2014 September Session, the Community Parlia- ment's budget for 2015 had been prepared and submitted to the Council of Ministers for approval.”
    Mr Speaker, here is where the emphasis is 12:05 p.m.
    “This, according to the Speaker, is a monumental breakthrough, which members should be proud of.”
    Mr Speaker, if we are in the sub-region and a monumental breakthrough is made, one giant step is taken, with the mere belief that when they come to Accra for the 47th Ordinary Session, the official document would be formally signed only to be told
    in the 47th Ordinary Session in Accra that, Senegal said it will not agree. And because of that, that monumental giant step taken by the ECOWAS Parliament should be shut down.
    Mr Speaker, I think we need to reconsider certain decisions that are taken. The principle of unanimity, where every Member State must agree before the enhancement of powers is adopted, I think, is a great challenge.
    In a democratic era, we were taught in school that, democracy is a majoritarian rule with the consent of the minority. If the majority, 14 out of 15 say in a Community Parliament that we should progress from being an advisory body, or progress from being just -- This is because I was a Member of that Parliament, I would not want to say from being just a mere rubber stamp Parliament -- I will not say that.
    But Mr Speaker, we all believe that it is an advisory body which we are all charged ECOWAS levy to sponsor -- Let us make it in such a way that it will have legislative powers where a common principle or a law adopted by that Parliament will have an oversight effect on all the countries as my Hon Colleague on the other side said. Then one country out of the 15 said no --
    Mr Speaker, we know where we are coming from. When there was the Ebola outbreak, assistance were sought from countries outside Africa.
    Mr Speaker, we all know the strings attached to international aids. If we do not know that by enhancing the powers of the ECOWAS Parliament, it is going to help solve most of the sub-regional challenges that we face, then I doubt why we are doing this to ECOWAS.
    Mr Speaker, on the second point -- In the light of the adoption of the Supplementary Act on the enhancement of ECOWAS Parliament -- He extended his appreciation to the Chairman of the authority of Heads of State and Government -- His Excellency, President John Mahama and the other Heads of State and Governments in the sub-region, for their fortitude in adopting the Supplementary Act on the enhancement of Powers of ECOWAS Parliament.
    Mr Speaker, all these were done in Abuja. However, when they came to Accra, they shut it down. So, look at the cost; but we have said that we would continue to maintain it as an advisory body. I think because we are operating through an envelope and spending money on ECOWAS Parliament, we must change the principle of unanimity and practice true democratic rule, where majority decision would be taken with the consent of the minority.
    If that is not done, then that monumental breakthrough that they had and shut it down, would continue to have it and shut it down.
    This is because we know what goes into taking international decisions by countries. It would be very difficult for all of us to agree on one thing, without any member consenting, or any member voting against. In that case, Mr Speaker, I would urge our delegation to the ECOWAS Parliament, much as I commend them -- I know what they do there and I believe that one day, my Hon Colleagues, in this Chamber, would have the opportunity to go and see the fame that Ghana has in Abuja, when the fifteen countries in ECOWAS converge.
    Mr Speaker, just as I bring my contribution to an end, I would entreat our Hon Members from the ECOWAS
    Parliament, to embark upon extensive sensitisation of Ghanaians and their constituents to know their impact in Abuja.

    Mr Speaker, the second thing that happened there was when the position became vacant. There was a perfect replacement for Hon Michael Teye Nyaunu; that was Hon Simon Osei- Mensah. When the Speaker called us, he told us that Ghana is highly respected in this community Parliament and so they would not allow us to mar the big reputation that we had here. He said he knew Ghanaians were highly democratic, and so he urged us to go and sit down and agree on one person.

    Mr Speaker, we did not know everybody there wanted Hon Simon Osei- Mensah. So when we went into our closet and came out with the name, the whole ECOWAS Parliament became a rally ground, with shouts of “Simon! Simon!” But Mr Speaker, do we know his value in Ghana? We were only told recently that his constituents voted him out.

    An Hon Member -- rose --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:05 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Member, are you up on a point of order --
    Mr Ahmed Ibrahim 12:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, if we have such a material in the sub-regional Parliament, who is making positive impact, then there must be positive sensitisation for Ghanaians to -- the more we keep him there, the more international recognition that he has, the more international recognition that Ghana has and wherever he goes, it is Ghana that benefits.
    Mr Speaker, Hon Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey would even confirm that we were asked why Ghanaians voted Hon Balado Manu out. Were we not asked? So, this is the kind of impact that our delegation is making elsewhere, but if there is no sensitisation, much would not be heard, of what happens there.
    Mr Speaker, the high rate of attrition would continue. This is because many Ghanaians would not know what happens there. I have spoken so much and I would not say “with this few words, I would want to end my contribution here.” Mr Speaker, I would say that with this long speech -- [Laughter] -- I would like to end my contribution here and entreat other Hon Members here to support the Motion.
    Thank you for the opportunity.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:05 p.m.
    Thank you very much.
    I can get the sense of the House, so I will now take the last contribution. If not, then I would put the Question.
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    Yes, Hon Deputy Majority Leader?
    Mr Agbesi 12:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Motion in item number 9 cannot proceed. In the same way, item number 10 cannot also proceed. I therefore move, that --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:05 p.m.
    Very well, please hold your breath.
    Mr Speaker has admitted one Statement so we might as well take that Statement.
    The Statement stands in the name of Hon Joseph Appiah Boateng, Hon Member of Parliament for Afram Plains South. It is on wrongful methods of waste disposal and its environmental and health impacts.
    Is the Hon Member in the House?
    Very well, you have the floor.
    STATEMENTS 12:15 p.m.

    Mr Appiah Joseph Boateng (NDC -- Afram Plains South) 12:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am grateful for this opportunity to make a Statement on Wrongful Waste Disposal Methods and its Impacts on the Environment and Human Health.
    The focus of the Statement is on the filth that has taken over many parts of our major cities, together with the wrongful methods being applied in the disposal of waste, particularly in Accra, the capital city.
    Mr Speaker, human activity by nature, generate a lot of waste each day. The predominant waste being domestic, industrial and constructional waste. Some of this waste is sent to the few existing open dumping sites available while a lot of it end up in drains, water bodies and open places.
    As a result of the latter, people are forced to juggle over heaps of rubbish and also endure the stench emanating from
    choked gutters, and on many occasions, having to drive through spilled over rubbish on our streets.
    The improper disposal of waste all over our city should be of concern to all well- meaning Ghanaians. This, sadly, is a reflection of our uncaring and unhygienic attitude.
    Mr Speaker, it is important for us to consider the frequency at which the garbage is collected. Garbage generated and gathered by households and industrial establishments are not collected at regular intervals.
    The result is that, most of these overflow the collection bins and eventually end up in drains whenever it rains. The manner in which the waste is collected is another point worth considering.
    Collection trucks move about the city during the day and at peak hours to collect rubbish, using the same major routes. These trucks are often over loaded and uncovered resulting in spillage on these major streets. My question is: are these waste disposal trucks disinfected regularly as they compete freely with other road users in traffic?
    I wish to suggest that we look at the times that these trucks operate, preferably at dawn when most of our streets are free of human and vehicular traffic.
    The workers are provided with the appropriate gears and equipment to ensure that they do not get infected with various diseases. This is a good approach employed in other jurisdictions and we need to adopt such good practices if we are to bring our waste disposal methods to acceptable international standards.
    It is important to note that, over the years, government has put in place policies as well as regulatory and institutional frameworks, such as an environmental sanitation policy in its bid to solve the problems of waste management.
    Additionally, a number of waste control legislations were enacted. These measures, notwithstanding, the problems persist.
    Mr Speaker, may I seize the opportunity to make a few recommendations;
    There is the need to acknowledge our si tuat ion and do well to go with internationally accepted, time tested best practices to solve the problem of waste management in our cities.
    First, we need to strengthen and build the capacity of our Municipal and District Assemblies to enable them cope with the enormity of the problem at hand.
    This could be done through increased financial support and education of staff and the general public on good and healthy habits and accepted methods of handling waste and the provision of the appropriate equipment.
    It is important that we drastically reduce, if not eliminate, the use of plastic materials in our day to day activities. The current practice where people are encourage to collect plastic which are not biodegradable for a fee should be vigorously pursued.
    Transport unions, other similar bodies and vehicle owners should educate their drivers and passengers to ensure that they refrain from indecent disposal of waste on our roads.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:15 p.m.
    Hon Members, we would take contributions.
    Mrs Ursula G. Ekuful(NPP -- Ablekuma West) 12:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I wish to commend my Hon Colleague for making this Statement which is very pertinent in view of the devastating nature of the floods which we all witnessed recently in this country.
    We cannot continue to generate waste without thinking of effective ways of disposing of the waste we generate. What easily comes to mind, is our increasing usage of plastics and the indiscriminate manner in which plastics are littered all over the place.
    This House has passed a law to collect an environmental tax of 20 per cent on all plastic packaging products. We do not know what use that money is being put to, but all we witness is that, despite the passage and implementation and collection of that tax, plastics are still littered all over the place.
    I suggest that part of the proceeds from this tax be used towards the effective disposal of the plastic packaging products which choke all our gutters and litter our beaches after every major down pour. And while thinking of that too, we need to encourage the source separation of waste; keeping our waste material in separate containers would facilitate effective recycling and even generate income for the recycling companies and those who collect and dispose of the various waste products.
    Plastics, papers, metals and organic waste should all be separated where it is generated-in our homes and industries and through that, recycling companies can pick up the various materials that they need and it would generate income for this country and reduce the amount of waste material which ends up in our landfill sites.
    Talking about landfill sites as well, the distances from where the garbage is collected to where the landfill sites are located also contribute to the increasing cost that house owners have to pay for the collection of their waste.
    In these days, where fuel prices are going up increasingly as well, it is a cost for garbage collection companies and we need to look at locating landfill sites in areas which are not so far out, which would be properly managed and engineered and reduce the amount of waste that are collected in those sites and the distances that one has to travel to get them.
    Recycling is the way to go. We do not need to re-invent the wheel; others have done it, we can learn from them and stop the amount of garbage which is inundating our cities and our country- sides and our beaches and killing us in the process.
    If for nothing at all, June 3rd 2015 should be a clarion call that we should do things differently in terms of the manner in which we accumulate and dispose of the waste materials that we produce because of our daily activities.
    We should also be thinking about making it possible for those who use plastic packaging bags in our various shops to also pay a small premium for the bags that they use, which can also be used to acquire more environmentally friendly packaging products like paper.
    We can eventually move away from plastic bags to paper bags in our shops and in the sale of all our products. Time was when we used to buy waakye and rice in leaves and eat them.
    The leaves were not just biodegradable, but they also added to the flavour of the fast food that we procured on the streets. Now, in the name of development, we use
    these styrofoam containers which are not biodegradable. It may be fancy but it is hurting our environment. So, we may have to reconsider going back to the safe environmental packaging products which our ancestors used.
    It is not everything that they did in the past that was wrong, but under the guise of development, we have thrown away some of the good practices which helped reduce the amount of liter which ends up in our landfill sites. We may want to reconsider using leaves again to package our waakye and other products and think of the environment while we enjoy the fast foods sold on the streets.
    Mr Magnus K. Amoatey (NDC -- Yilo Krobo) 12:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I add my voice to congratulate our Hon Colleague for the Statement he has just made, drawing attention to waste management in our communities.
    Mr Speaker, it is an open secret that we are gradually losing the battle against waste disposition in this country. This is because from North to South, East to West, whichever district or municipal area you visit, you would find huge challenges of waste management. This poses serious challenges to our health.
    Mr Speaker, my Hon Colleague made suggestions as to the means of alleviating the situation. He drew attention to scientific disposition of waste in this country. I believe it is an issue that we must critically address; because elsewhere in other communities or jurisdictions, waste is scientifically disposed of and by so doing, we create employment for several persons.
    I would want to urge that we look at this issue and charge the authorities that are responsible for waste management in our communities to look at scientific ways of waste disposal.
    Mr Speaker, in the Municipal and Distr ict Assemblies, I believe disposition of waste is relegated to the background. It is not an issue that is
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:25 p.m.
    Hon Deputy Minority Whip?
    Mr Ignatius B. Awuah ((NPP -- Sunyani East) 12:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I would like to thank you for giving me the opportunity to contribute to a Statement ably made by the Hon Member for Afram Plains South, Hon Joseph Appiah Boateng on the issue of waste disposal and its environmental and health impact on society.
    Mr Speaker, this Statement could not have been made at any better time than now, more especially, given the experience we had on June 3rd 2015 in Accra. Mr Speaker, the issue of waste is something, that, as human beings, we can never avoid.
    Most of our efforts have concentrated so much on, perhaps, what goes into us but hardly should we forget that, whatever goes into us, or whatever makes us what we are, also has to be disposed off in one way or the other. But most of the times, our discussions in our homes, our communities and even at the national level centre so much on what makes us happy but hardly should we also forget about how to dispose of the waste we generate after getting the comfort that we get.
    Mr Speaker, I would want to re-echo the point that the Hon Member made; in looking at the issues of waste disposal, we, once again, have to look at issues of special planning in cities and in our communities. Mr Speaker, every District, Municipal or Metropolitan Assembly in this country has a committee called the Statutory Planning Committee, which is responsible for special planning in the various Assemblies.
    In spite of the fact that we have this committee, we still find issues of people putting up structures at unauthorised places. What is even more annoying is that, sometimes, if you go to their offices, you can find the best of plans but when you go to the ground and you want to relate what is on paper or what is even on the computer to what reflects on the ground, they do not match.
    Very often, you have unscrupulous Ghanaians, some come from some of the District Assemblies, some also come from traditional authorities, and some come from ordinary individuals, using lands that have otherwise been earmarked for sanitation zones, and re-allocating them to people to put up structures.
    There are communities where waste collection, whether solid or liquid waste, are so difficult to even find a place to dispose of them. Sometimes, you may have to travel a lot of kilometres before you can even get a place to dispose of your waste.
    Mr Speaker, in Accra city today, the waste contractors hardly get places where they would dispose of solid waste. They may either have to move outside Accra city to nearby District Assemblies or nearby Municipal Assemblies before they can dispose of the waste. Why has it happened so? Do we have to incur so much cost in moving those things before we can dispose of them?
    Mr Speaker, one other issue that personally, I have championed a cause to challenge is the issue of polluter-pay method of collecting waste. Mr Speaker, people generate waste irrespective of their social standing; the rich contributes to waste in the society, the poor does same.
    Whereas perhaps, the rich could afford to pay, the poor person may not be able to pay. But whatever it is, the waste would have to be disposed of. So what happens? Perhaps, the person looks left and right, and if nobody is coming, he throws off the waste somewhere. I think our city authorities should be innovative in coming out with proper ways of funding waste collection than, insisting on the ‘polluter-pay method' as the only way or the easiest way of collecting and therefore, using that as the way of collecting waste in our cities.
    Mr Speaker, it is on record that, on a daily basis, cities like Accra and Kumasi get an influx of more than a million people in a day. Most of these people come to Accra to trade or to do their business and go back.
    As they come, by nature, they would be forced to drop off some of their “wastes”, let me put it into quotes. They would buy one or two things, these things would be wrapped in either a polythene bag or a paper, which they would also dispose of.
    These people cannot be traced to a particular residential area where if you are using the ‘polluter-pay' method, they would go and collect fees from them but their waste would by all means, be disposed of. That is why I am saying that, we should be more ingenious in coming out with ways of collecting moneys associated with waste disposal.
    But we should also avoid a situation where, for every single thing that somebody needs, he would have to move all the way from his community to the centre of our cities, Accra and Kumasi before the person can get that thing. W have to develop our district and regional capitals in such a way that most of these people who travel to the city centres or to Accra, may not find it necessary. Maybe, we can avoid this influx of people who
    Mr Bright E. K. Demordzie (NDC -- Bortianor-NgleshieAmanfro) 12:35 p.m.
    Thank you very much Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to contribute towards the Statement made by my Colleague on waste management and its implication on this country.
    Solid waste management has over the years been an albatross around the necks of city authorities in this country; and in my view, what is so crucial is its perception,especially as if it is bad in itself.
    Countries all over the world make a lot of resources and money from solid waste management. If one goes to a country like the Philippines, they use solid waste to generate energy and get fertilizers and other organic manure. However, in this country, we look at solid waste as if it is in itself a very bad thing. Why? It is because by privatising waste management, we involve the private sector, engage them and name them waste management companies.”
    In actual fact, these companies are not waste management companies. They are basically waste collectors because they move the waste from one particular location and send it to another location; but not actually managing the waste and this is the problem.
    Companies that we engage from day one must be entrepreneurs, those who have a strategy and a plan of managing the waste and not just collecting the waste from one particular point to another. Why? Even with those we engage to collect the waste and pay either on quarterly or monthly basis, we do not have strict regulations to monitor them.
    When one walks through the streets of Accra and see a waste management company -- even the way they lock the vehicles, as they move, some of the waste materials drop on the road.
    Who controls and manages companies? Unfortunately, if you are in your car moving and you are not lucky and you find yourself behind some of these waste collectors, you would be surprised that they do not even have any means to ensure that these waste are not spread on our roads. Regulation is also key. To employ these companies and engage them to collect waste alone is not enough. We need to put in proper regulative measures in place to ensure that companies we recruit to collect this waste and manage them are really waste management companies but not just waste collectors.
    Mr Speaker, I would want to move into the way we look at waste in our communities. You would be surprised to know that even the most educated people do not know how to manage our waste. That is why I think there is major work for our city authorities to do.
    In the area of education, we need to educate our people about the way we manage our waste in this country, otherwise, we would come here another year and there would be Statements on waste management and we would give all the recommendations and suggestions and come back and talk about it another time.
    Honestly speaking, most of these issues are about education. If we could provide even the bins, people would go and dump the waste in them. So, education of our people is very crucial in this area where flooding becomes an annual issue.
    Mr Speaker, public attitude, as I said, is very critical and going back to the way we prepare our Budget and the amount of resources we allocate to the soft issues.
    When I say soft issues, I am talking about education; the amount of money we allocate to the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) and others. We should look at it again so that we could resource NCCE and other organisations which are responsible, so that we could give them some amount of resources that would enable them educate the public, put up serious sensitisation measures so that our communities would become better than the way we see them.
    Mr Speaker, with these few words, I thank you for the opportunity.
    Mr Enoch T. Mensah (NDC --Ningo Prampram) 12:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I stand to support the Statement made in connection with waste management in our cities. Quite often, we confuse waste collection with waste management. Waste is collected and the management is only in three phases; you order, composite -- scientific land fills, not the ones we do here, and then incineration.
    These are the three phases. Our problem is systemic. The problem is that if we do not get our planning right, we would have problems like flooding. We have problems of choked drains, problems that have been articulated by the Hon Member who made the Statement.
    What I am talking about is that, there is no single District Assembly today which has a planning unit to drive home what we are talking about. The process that one has to go through before one gets a building permit; when people acquire land, they just move straight to the site and start developing without going through the three stages, where one goes for a planning permission. When one goes for the planning permission, what
    Mr Enoch T. Mensah (NDC --Ningo Prampram) 12:45 p.m.
    they do there is that-- First of all, they would check your Land Title, secondly, the land use; is it for residential, industrial or commercial use?
    When it is for residential, they want to find out the topography, which is so important and if it is a swampy place, you would not be allowed to build. If we do not plan our cities, check the drains, the storm waterways, the rivers and the drains that we have -- This is because they all have to enter the sea if they are close to the sea or a certain point through the ways that you have created for them.All these must be taken care of.
    I would give you an example of what has happened in Sodom and Gomorrah. It has been said a few times that if it does not rain in Accra and it rains on the mountain for eight hours, Accra would be flooded.
    It happened in 1957 and in 1958, Dr Kwame Nkrumah came out with a plan to deal with the situation, where he decided that Ayikai Doblo, just at the bottom of the mountain, the waters would be collected there and would create an irrigation for the people who live around there.
    But, then this Sodom and Gomorrah was not there, there were just a few mechanics and he wanted to open the creek and create a recreational facility. All those who were dotted there were paid compensation to move.
    Then, he had a plan which was called the Nandom Development Company (NADECO) Drainage Plan which was very comprehensive, that the city would use to process building applications so that what we are going through now would not happen.

    What I am trying to say is that, we need to get to the basics. We must make sure that we create planning units to write home about. We can go to the District Assembly and there is one person there as a planner. There is no system and we do not have a building in strategic division which would make sure that the plan which is rolled out is followed through.

    The law says that after one has the planning permission, one goes to the District Assembly. And all the Chief Executives are the Chairmen of the Planning Committee, where all the agencies; water, electricity and fire service are. After they have examined your application and they are satisfied, they give you a building permit and that does not mean you can just move on and build.

    The law says that 24 hours before one goes to the site, you have to inform the building inspector in the Engineers Department of the Assembly. One of the building inspectors would go with you and ensure that the application that has been approved, is going to be implemented.

    They would be there for you to sign your forms and after that, they come around three days in a week to inspect and ensure that first of all,you have made adequate provision for waste disposal; liquid and solid waste. Even when one uses mortar, the engineers would come and make sure that one has done the right thing.

    At the end of the day, when one is finished, you cannot move into the house, they need to be informed and the Medical Officer of the Health Division of the Assembly would have to come in, inspect the place and make sure that provision has been made for three toilets in a five bed room house. If one has delivered and rolled that out before one is given what is called certificate of habitation.

    So, all the mess we are seeing is the function of vacuuming and the function of lack of resources into setting up the proper institutions.

    In 1985, there was a Parliament in Accra which handled all these things that we are talking about. One day, we would come and issue a Statement for us to see where we got to and where we are. Otherwise, annually, we would have those problems that we are having if we do not hold the bull by the horn.

    Mr Speaker, with these few words, I thank you for the opportunity and thank the Hon Member who made the Statement.

    Deputy Minister for Food and Agriculture (Dr Hannah Louisa Bisiw): Mr Speaker, I rise to congratulate my Hon Colleague, Member of Parliament (MP) for Afram Plains South on the Statement he just made.

    Mr Speaker, I would add my voice to my other Hon Colleagues who have spoken about our waste management in the country.

    Mr Speaker, as a nation, we have a problem. We have the institutions in place and we have the people. And as one of our Hon Colleagues said, we can never avoid the generation of waste. But I think we have to shift away from the philosophy of generate, collect and dispose. We are talking about waste management. And what is waste management?

    Is it the act of collecting of the waste from wherever we dump them and then we go and create a heap of a three four storey building level of waste? Or waste management is how we manage the very waste that we generate in our communities?

    Mr Speaker, when we come to our big cities, we compare the smaller cities. In my view, my hometown Tachimantia is cleaner than Accra. But when we collect our various waste from our various communities, we carry the wastes on our head and we go and dump them at a certain site. And so, we come to the small communities where we do not have storey buildings but we have storey buildings of waste.

    So, as a nation, I think we have to come to a point where we really manage waste but not just generate, we collect and dispose and say we are managing waste. Every house would be able to put their bin in front of their homes or if even they do not have a basket, the generated waste can be placed in front of the house for the waste inspectors to pick them up.

    I think we should have a centre where we would be separating the plastic from the paper. If one comes down to our country, we have cassava and plantain peels but some of these can even be used in making soap. If we come to our villages we have alata soaps that are generated from plantain peels.

    Mr Speaker, I think we need to do a lot of education. We also need to encourage investors to come into the country and then go into the recycling of waste. We have lots of plastic bags and when we see people collecting plastic bags, we go and find these plastic bags on our farms. This is because we use them for either cocoa seedlings or for palm plantation. And so, we should start looking at these things. We go into our farms and we find these plastic bags.

    If we do have the recycling plants it would also create some sort of income for our young people or people who want to engage in it. One buys a bottle of water, and I do not want to mention any company's name, but it is written that,
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:45 p.m.
    Thank you very much.
    The last contribution.Yes, Hon Member?
    Ms Laadi Ayii Ayamba (NDC -- Pusiga) 12:55 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I wish to congra- tulate the Hon Member who made the Statement, the Hon Member for Afram Plains South. This Statement has actually come at a time that it needs be.
    Mr Speaker, when we discuss or talk about sanitation, we should not forget the fact that institutions have been put in place, activities are being undertaken, especially, by the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, which trickles down to our District Assemblies.
    Mr Speaker, at least, we have the National Sanitation Day in which the first Saturday of every month is recognised for this activity. The question that comes into play is, how many people actually participate, apart from those who take the

    lead to come on television, or to organise those who are in the community? Is sensitisation properly done—Has it trickled down? Are we realising that we are the cause of the sanitation problem? If we are, what are we doing? It is one of the questions that we need to ask ourselves.

    Mr Speaker, as one of my Hon Colleagues early on said, we are the very people who generate waste and we have so many kinds of waste. We have the one that would take a long time and we know that, that one would degenerate. We have the one that would take a short-term and we have the one that will take thousands of years and it is always there. The worse one is the plastics.

    Mr Speaker, we very well know that for economic and business reasons, we are not able to put in place laws to bar the fact that we do not want plastic bags in our country. But if that be the case, what are we putting in place to make sure that these plastic bags do not spread just as is being done in our country.

    Unfortunately, almost everything that we buy today, whether in the market or the shops — The little market places that we have — That woman who is selling only okro or onion — It is in plastic bag. Disposal becomes another issue when we buy them.

    Mr Speaker, the issue of waste has to do with three major areas, first, collection, management and thirdly, segregation. Collection is another big problem in this country. If one goes to Accra central for instance, one would realise that— One might go to one corner and find a very big truck there collecting waste. One would go to another place and it is a whole heap and it looks as if it has never been collected. Unfortunately, when one asks and tr ies to listen to people's

    contributions, I can assure you, we do not have enough waste collectors—Not the contractors, but those on the ground. Those who would do the collection personally. This is because, one would find the whole truck and it is about three or four people who are doing the collection of the whole “mountain” of waste that is sitting there. They spend the whole day there and they are not able to collect just that single heap that has been dumped at a place.

    Mr Speaker, I wish that the number of people employed for waste collection should be looked at. It should be increased to enable them do the work efficiently. If we talk of management, what do these people who have been contracted to do the collection of the waste actually do with it? They simply go and dump them anywhere.

    They do not have places to dump them. Sometimes, one would just be driving to a place and realise that a whole bundle of waste has fallen off, they are gone and one would just wonder what is really happening.

    Mr Speaker, if it is the land fills, we should put policies in place; where those land fills that have been acquired for dumping of waste are left solely for that purpose. But before then, if we mix all the waste; the paper, the rubber, the plastics and all those things and dump them there, when will it be segregated before we even think of recycling? I have realised and seen at certain District Assemblies that, refuse bins have been distributed.

    But if the refuse bins are one to each house, then it means that every kind of waste generated is going to be dumped in one bin, be it bottles, plastics, et cetera. When will it be segregated for recycling? We need to do it and do it well. If we are given refuse bins—We should be able to give at least three bins each, label them and give the education so that when the
    Ms Laadi Ayii Ayamba (NDC -- Pusiga) 12:55 p.m.
    rubbish is being dumped into any bin, we will know which bin contains what and when there is any recycling, we will know very well that at least, some plastics have been taken away.
    Mr Speaker, most of us went to the flood prone areas and the places that were affected during the floods, especially Nima and Old Fadama— The Agbobglo- shie area, we realised that most of the problems come from plastics. The gutters were so chocked to the extent that water cannot penetrate. Water has got its own routes. It is natural— Nobody can stop it.
    It will find its way if one thinks of blocking it and once it will find its own level , if one diverts it, then it goes to carry people and houses away. It is no respecter of people, because nature has it that, no matter what it is, it will take its own course. We need to make sure that plastics are not thrown or littered anywhere.
    Mr Speaker, the other issue is that, even our food is being sold directly in plastics. Hot food is being sold in plastics. One goes to buy waakye, banku — and even soup is even put in plastics for us, and we are being told— I am not a scientist, but I am well aware that when one puts hot food in those plastics, at the end of the day, it changes the nature of the food and one consumes a lot of sulphur And so, even diseases that we have never thought of, we buy them into our own systems without realising it.
    Mr Speaker, we need to give education. In those days, we used to talk to children in schools about how they should handle waste. These days, no! We used to have the nsaman nsaman who will come around but we do not have them today and nobody says anything. We can still bring them back and make sure that they come to support us.
    Mr Speaker, in this direction, I hope that we will be supported by the powers that be and then the Ministry of Local

    Government and Rural Development will continue its good work so that the education would trickle down and we would be able to manage our waste better.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:55 p.m.
    Hon Members, I think we have had enough by way of contribution. I think from what Hon Members have said, it is clear that we need to take a very serious look at this issue. I think we have to look at the areas of recycling of waste and biogas.
    I know that the Ministry of Environment, Science Technology and Innovation is doing something about that and the second cycle institutions are converting their liquid wastes into biogas to help in the kitchen, et cetera but we need to step up with whatever we are doing in this direction.
    Therefore, there is the need for education and sensitisation, enforcement of the laws—We have the laws in existence. It is a matter of enforcement which is lacking.
    So, I want to direct and I so direct that, copies of this Statement, together with contributions from Hon Members, be sent to the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation as well as the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development for them to consider in their planning and future deliberations.
    Mr Haruna Iddrisu 12:55 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I know that you have given your directive but, I will crave your indulgence to expand the remit of the distribution of this Statement. If it is at your pleasure, I will recommend that all Regional Co- ordinating Councils and District Co- ordinating Councils—I know they come under Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, under our decen- tralised system, in order that we appreciate the magnitude of this problem. So that no District of Regional Council comes here tomorrow and say that they are not aware that Parliament took a
    serious view of this particular matter. I will indulge you to further expand the remit of the distribution to the affected Ministries.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:05 p.m.
    Very well.
    Fortunately, we have the Minister for Local Government and Rural Development here with us. What do you say to that suggestion?
    Minister for Local Government and Rural Development (Alhaji Collins Dauda) 1:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I would also appreciate the concerns raised but I think if this is communicated to us, we would get it down to the regions and to the districts.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:05 p.m.
    I am sorry, I cannot hear you.
    Alhaji Dauda 1:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I said that if this directive is communicated to us in the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, we would get it down to the Regional Co-ordinating Councils and the District Assemblies and I think it would be as effective as it should be.
    Thank you.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:05 p.m.
    Thank you.
    So I believe it would get down to the lowest level of administration.
    Yes, Hon Deputy Majority Leader?
    Mr Alfred K. Agbesi 1:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, this Statement was made at the right time, particularly when this House, Sitting as a Committee of the Whole, would be briefed on the recent demolition exercise that was carried out at Old Fadama- “Sodom and Gomorrah”.
    It is necessary for us to take note of this, in view of the fact that tomorrow is a holiday and this briefing would be done
    the next day which is on Thursday. So, Hon Members are reminded that, that is going to be an important exercise and we should all take note of it.
    The Minister and the Chief Executive of Accra would be here to brief us at the Committee of the Whole. That is the reason I say that this Statement, having come at this time, is a good time for us to remind ourselves of the importance of this exercise.
    Mr Speaker, having said so, I beg to move, that this House do adjourn to Thursday morning.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:05 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Second Deputy Minority Whip?
    Mr Ignatius B. Awuah 1:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, in seconding the Motion to adjourn, I just do not really understand what the Deputy Majority Leader said, that come Thursday, we are going to have a briefing on the demolition exercise carried out by the Accra Metropolitan Assembly at Old Fadama.
    Mr Speaker, I would want to believe that every Business of this House is important, so I do not know the reason he is placing value on that than perhaps other Businesses of this House. I think it is not necessary. What is most necessary is that we have a Business on Thursday. Therefore, all Hon Members are encouraged to be here.
    Mr Speaker, on that note, I beg to second the Motion for adjournment.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:05 p.m.
    Very well.
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    ADJOURNMENT 1:05 p.m.

  • The House was accordingly adjourned at 1.09 p.m. till Thursday, 2nd July, 2015 at 10.00 a.m.